Astros decline Albers' option, cut down 40-man roster

Houston outrights Guzman, Owens while clearing space

Astros decline Albers' option, cut down 40-man roster

HOUSTON -- The Astros cleared some space on their 40-man roster Thursday by outrighting first baseman Jesus Guzman and left-handed pitcher Rudy Owens and declining the option on veteran reliever Matt Albers.

Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Jorge De Leon was claimed off waivers by Oakland, leaving the Astros with 36 players on their 40-man roster. Clubs typically clear space on their 40-man roster this time of year so they can add some prospects they might be in danger of losing in December's Rule 5 Draft.

"We know we're going to have to add some guys to the roster and we're going to sign some free agents, either before the Winter Meetings or not, we don't know," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We definitely feel like we have to clear some spots for guys that have to go on. They're not always 100 percent clear-cut decisions. You make the best decision based on the information you have. We felt this was the right time to do it."

The Astros signed Albers to a one-year, $2.45-million contract last winter, but he pitched in only eight games because of biceps tendinitis. The Astros will pay him a $200,000 buyout instead of $3 million to play in 2015.

Guzman, who was acquired by the Astros from San Diego in exchange for Ryan Jackson last December, appeared in 69 games last season. Owens spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, making his only appearance in a May 23 start at Seattle, in which he lost.

De Leon made eight relief appearances for the Astros as a September callup. He spent most of the season at Oklahoma City, making 46 appearances in relief.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.